Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…

“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2: 8-12 (ESV)

Well it happened again a few weeks ago. I watched my favorite movie of all time—“It’s a Wonderful Life.” Twice.

Despite having seen it at least a hundred times and preparing to watch it again this week, I sat there watching it to its glorious eye-moistening-end as all of those people whom George Bailey’s life had touched came to his aid during a time of trouble and need.

The movie never fails to remind me of what God was trying to tell us so many years ago when He sent His Son for you and for me. And it is a reminder I need. Regularly. It is a reminder that many of us need.

In the movie, George Bailey has lost $8,000 from the Bailey Building and Loan, and realizes that his life insurance proceeds would cover the loss—and so people would be better off if he were not there.

While thinking about jumping into the river, Clarence Odbody, Angel 2nd Class, who was sent from Heaven to help George, jumps into the river knowing George would jump in to save him—which he did.

While drying off in the bridge tenders cabin, George shares that it would have been better for everyone if he had never been born at all. And so Clarence gives George a chance to see what the world would be like if he had never lived. In scene after scene, George finally comes to realize that so many lives would have been less had he not lived, and that all of us influence other people’s lives for good in all sorts of unique ways we could never imagine or expect.

It is a reminder especially needed at this time of year when the pains and disappointments of past Christmas seasons rise from our memories. When the commercialization of the season creates a pressure we can’t afford, and yet we too often succumb to—a pressure to do more and more, to keep up, and to believe it’s about gifts and things.

Maybe it’s a reminder you don’t need, but only I do. A reminder I need to point me back to that moment of God’s love for us which occurred over two thousand years ago—and which this Christmas season is all about—nothing more and nothing less.

It’s why I begin to play Christmas music in my car in August. To remind me of the reason. It’s why I watch by myself, and also with family and my granddaughters, movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, “The Santa Clause” and the sequels II and III, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “The Polar Express,” “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” and so many others.

They all help me to embrace anew what it’s all about. They all help to remind and refocus me on that moment which occurred so many years ago in a dirty, damp, dark manger in a stable behind an inn in Bethlehem. A moment where we are headed again. A moment which has made, and will continue to make, all the difference in our lives.

A reminder of God’s plan and purpose for our lives, confirmed by the words of Clarence Odbody, Angel 2nd Class, to George Bailey, as George finally began to realize that his life had made a difference in the world—

“You see, George, you’ve really had a wonderful life. Don’t you see what a mistake it would be to throw it away?”

“Strange, isn’t it?” he continues, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

This moment that we are heading toward again was the moment God orchestrated just for us, to remind us of how much He loves us, and of how special we are to Him. And to remind us of all He created us to be for others.

So special we are to Him, that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to rescue and restore each of us to Him, assure our eternal salvation, and lead us into all the fullness of life we were meant to live.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is

Christ the Lord.

And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in

swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

For you? Yes, for you.

For me? Yes, Scott, for you, too!

In His Name—Scott